There are many questions both parents and future college students need to ask before choosing and moving to the right college.  Our colleges and universities furnish  information regarding student safety, so find out who to ask.  We have a few tips that will be helpful in your quest to understand how to ensure your safety. 

It is now possible to research campus crime statistics online.  Parents and students can access the Internet, to review campus crime stats for every college and university.  By contacting the particular college campus police, you can find out how to review their annual security report.  While we are talking about online safety, it’s a known fact that personal information should be kept at a minimum on social networks.  Announcing that you will be away from your dorm or apartment may serve as an invitation to intruders.  Sharing Too Much Information (TMI) is a bad idea. 

Colleges have counselors and healthcare providers that students can go to with questions regarding their health.  They may know someone that has an eating disorder, or is drinking too much, and experienced personnel can give them some direction on how to help that person.  By meeting with campus leaders, students can pursue the availability of healthy student activities, as well as safe places to meet with friends. 

Most schools have campus police.  They are not there to harass, but to assist students at any time.  If you feel uneasy about walking to your dorm, don’t be embarrassed to ask one of them to go with you, especially if it is late at night. It’s better to be safe than sorry.  The “buddy system” is a good way to stay safe.  Ask if  the school has volunteers that can accompany you if you feel unsure about where you are going.  Being with a group is the best solution.   Campus police offer safety awareness training and support services for students, faculty, and staff.  Some even give free whistles, a good deterrent to get rid of an attacker.  

It is a good idea to always tell a friend or roommate where you are going and when you plan to be home.  Keep your cell phone safe, and call your friend if you are running late.  You are young adults and it’s your time to establish some independence.  But you must use good judgment in doing so.  There will be off-campus parties that furnish lots of alcohol, but don’t drink too much and let your guard down.  Never leave with a stranger. By all means, don’t text and drive, or drink and drive! 

Search out where your classes will be, and become familiar with the places where you see large groups of students.  There’s always more safety in numbers!  Choose your friends wisely.  If you wander into a deserted area, chances are you are in the wrong place. If you can stay on campus at night, you will be safer.  To call for help on campus, many schools have emergency phones or emergency lights to ensure students’ safety on campus.  Know where these are located on your most often-traveled paths.  Watch for the lights along your route so you know the location of the nearest one in case you need it.  

One last thing, find out what the school’s plan is in case of an emergency on campus.  Find out how they notify all students if there is a threatening situation.  Disabled persons should be informed on how they can access safe places quickly in times of emergencies. 

Have a great and very safe school year!